Kowdenahalli lake in Bengaluru’s KR Puram has reverted to a deplorable state despite being rejuvenated in 2017 after an initiative by citizens. Local residents said the western portion of the 55-acre lake needed attention, but the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike claimed that did not have the funds to carry out the rejuvenation work.
Balaji Raghotham, a lake activist, told The Indian Express that nearly 36 acres on the lake’s western side was still to be rejuvenated. The government needed to address the issue of slum-dwellers as they throw garbage inside the lake’s boundary, the activist said.
The civic body has done well to restore the lake, he said. Volunteers planted saplings in vacant spaces around the lake to maintain ecology. A bird perch was also created. Raghotham said it was a great lake that required attention and must be maintained.
KR Puram Lake and Environment Protection Trust President C Narayanappa said the trust received a Rs 1.2 crore grant in 2017 from local MLA Byrathi Basavaraj, the current urban development minister for the development work. The funds were used to put up LED lights, benches, and toilets.
Narayanappa said garbage dumping was not the only problem — pointing to the persistent entry of sewage from the storm water drain. The trust members will meet Basavaraj next week to discuss ways to restore the remaining portion.
The trust chief said the stench from the garbage was unbearable and arrangements should be made to install security. The civic body also needs to address the issue of encroachment, where people have built homes on the lake’s land, Narayanappa added.
The civic body proposed to set up CCTV cameras last year at 11 different lakes, including Kowdenahalli lake, but it was yet to be done. The cameras were intended to prevent garbage dumping in the lake’s vicinity and check banned activities such as consumption of alcohol and damage to plants.
Volunteer Tara Sarkar told The Indian Express that the water body required urgent attention. She pointed to major issues, including garbage dumping, broken fencing, and the entry of sewage.
A senior lake department official said the civic body wanted to restore the lake but did not have the funds. He also blamed the government for making grand announcements about restoring lakes across Bengaluru, but said funds did not percolate.
The official added that the entry of sewage was a major issue that they were trying to address.